The New Zealand junior track cycling team will be looking to the key team events for success at the UCI World Championships in Germany this week.
An 11-strong team will contest the five-day championships that have attracted over 350 riders from 40 nations to the Oderlandhalle Velodrome in Frankfurt-Oder.
The city is nestled on the banks of the Oder River in the Brandenburg region on the border with Poland.
New Zealand won the gold medal in the men’s team pursuit with the women winning silver at the championships in Switzerland last year.
While there is a new combination with the men this year, the women have three of last year’s medal-winning combination returning. Waikato’s Ally Wollaston and McKenzie Milne are back with Christchurch’s Sami Donnelly chasing a second podium at the worlds, along with Southland’s Emily Paterson and Waikato’s Olivia King.
Wollaston will be keen to stay fit and healthy this week, after ill-health wrecked her chances in the individual events last year. She will likely ride the individual pursuit where Australian Lauren Robards will be a significant threat. Wollaston will link in the Madison with fellow Waikato teammate Eva Parkinson who is set to ride the omnium if she recovers from a bout of tonsillitis.
The men will look to Christchurch’s Laurence Pithie to lead in the team pursuit, as the current Oceania junior individual pursuit champion. He will be supported by Auckland’s Lachie Dickson, Nelson’s Keegan Hornblow, Taupo’s Kiaan Watts and Southland’s Conor Shearing.
The team will miss current junior individual pursuit world record holder Finn Fisher-Black whose fractured forearm has not healed in time for him to compete.
Pithie is likely to get the call for the omnium and join Watts for the Madison, with the other individual events spread between the rest of the squad.
The New Zealand team was the first to arrive last week after a solid three-week training block in Cambridge, in a bid to get sufficient time to recover from the effects of the travel, and get used to the track, which was revamped six years ago.
Competition begins with qualifying for team pursuit on Thursday (NZ time), with the medals decided on Friday.
The team is:
Females: Sami Donnelly (Christchurch), Olivia King (Hamilton), McKenzie Milne (Hamilton), Eva Parkinson (Hamilton), Emily Paterson (Invercargill), Ally Wollaston (Hamilton).
Males: Lachie Dickson (Auckland), Finn Fisher-Black (Nelson), Keegan Hornblow (Nelson), Laurence Pithie (Christchurch), Conor Shearing (Invercargill), Kiaan Watts (Taupo).
Head Coach: Tim Carswell. Assistant: Myron Simpson.